It's always stimulating to exercise our cultural memories of who wrote
what when and how many.
Many have noticed the relationship between music and mathematics, and
many of us on the list are collectors and catalogers, which surely must
be related to the same impulse: that which possessed the Count of Sesame
So, why not expand the discussion to the Counting of works in general?
It's always interested me how the First of anything is always a barrier.
Brahms is the most famous for delaying his First symphony while writing
others like the Op. 25 quartet or the Serenade #1. Less well known but
equally interesting is Chris Rouse writing "Symphony No. 2" as part of
his application to Oberlin without a No. 1 to precede it. This, of
course, was a student work, not the REAL Symphony #2, but this reminds
us of the Bruckner pre-symphonies 0 and 00.
Then there are the professional catalogers hoping they can get their
countable systematics appended to the works of others. And there are
those composers, like Hindemith, refusing to count their symphonies--quick,
how many DID he write?
Then there are the Definers: how can you "count" something unless you're
sure it's in the correct category? Is the Domestic Symphony of Strauss
REALLY a symphony? Are symphonic poems symphonies?
Then there are the strange numbering systems of the avant garde. I hope
experts out there can provide interesting examples. I've seen decimals
used, although Roman numerals seem to be more common.
Somehow, putting a number on something gives it more gravitas, at least
I think so. Or does it diminish??
[log in to unmask]